(Belga) The Houthi rebels in Yemen announced on Wednesday the death of one of their officials in the central province of Chabwa where government forces are advancing amid fighting in a country ravaged by more than seven years of war.
Rarely do the Houthi rebels recognize the losses in their ranks. But on Wednesday their news agency reported the death of the vice-governor of Chabwa province, Ahmad al-Hamza, “martyred in the battle”, without further details. Military sources close to the government said he was killed in an airstrike by the Saudi-led military coalition that targeted “a convoy of Houthi commanders on Tuesday evening”. Other officials were injured, according to these sources. Since 2015, the military coalition has supported, especially with its air force, the government forces at war against the Houthis who control the vast majority of the north of the country and the capital Sana’a. According to rebel-linked media, the coalition air force carried out “45 raids on Chabwa” on Wednesday. Pro-government military sources reported the deaths of 12 loyalist forces, killed by a missile launched by the rebels against the house of a local official. The fighting has intensified in recent weeks in the province of Chabwa and that of Al-Bayda, bordering the province of Marib (north) which has been at the heart of a bloody battle for nearly a year. Government forces succeeded in advancing into Chabwa after reinforcements arrived from the “Giants” force, made up of soldiers from the former Yemeni army and volunteers. This force is supported by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, another member of the coalition. The rebels launched an offensive in February 2020 to wrest Marib from loyalist forces and the fighting has intensified around this oil-rich region in recent months. Marib is the last stronghold of power in the North. Triggered in 2014, the conflict in Yemen killed 377,000 people, according to the UN, including around 227,000 deaths due to the indirect consequences of the conflict, such as lack of drinking water, hunger and disease. (Belga)